Above you will find an article about Roger, who says he is ready for and looking forward to the clay court season. He also says that his lung infection may have had a bigger effect on his play in the US than he thought, and that he could have done much better. It’s not impossible at all. Lung infection is a pretty serious illness and the aftereffects may linger in the system. Maybe he should have skipped Indian Wells too, but it was a tough call anyway. That is all in the past now and Federer is excited about the clay court season. According to the article he hit the practice courts only hours after his loss to Berdych, at the hotel across the road, on clay courts. Federer now enters the clay court season for the first time without the pressure of not having won the French Open before. I’m wondering what difference that will make in his results, if any.
It will be hard to top last year’s clay court results that’s for sure. A grand slam title and a Masters Series title and semi-final isn’t bad going at all. If he defends the French Open that will be enough for me. That will put him in a great position to win the grand slam itself. Nadal will try his best to make it difficult though I’m sure. Two Masters Series semi-finals on hard court isn’t bad for him, although he still lacks wins over top ten players. Still, because of his history he must be the single biggest threat to Federer going into the clay court season. I have a feeling this clay court season will be key for Federer and Nadal’s futures in tennis, but especially Nadal. He has everything to prove really, while Roger has nothing left to prove. If Roger wins the French Open, then he will be in a great position to achieve the holy grail of tennis.
Rafa on the other hand needs the French Open crown more than anything if he is to come even close to where he was in the game before last year’s French Open. If he does not lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires this year, I’m afraid the Spaniard may find it very hard to return to former glory. If he should lift the cup, we may also see a revival of the Federer/Nadal rivalry which has been all but non-existent for almost a year now. A Fedal final in the French capitol could go a long way towards restoring that once intense rivalry.
Ps. Roger is now within 10 weeks of breaking Sampras’ record of 286 weeks in the number one spot. He is currently guaranteed 285 weeks.